Caught by the River

Wish You Were There

13th November 2010

“…“London’s throbbing nightlife has room for everyone. At The Marquee, a jazz club, non-alcoholic, on Wardour Street, you’ll find the young kids from the offices; The Scene on Great Windmill Street brings in the Mods; Ronnie Scott’s in Soho is a classless place – the sons of dukes and working men, rubbing shoulders in mutual appreciation of jazz; The Flamingo, a beat spot, caters to the West Indians”.

I’m reluctant to say this but the most appropriate description I can think of for the map above is ‘Mod Psychogeography’. It’s the centre piece of an A6 brochure called ‘Wish You Were There’ described by it’s creators, Herb Lester Associates, as “A retrospective guide to London’s shops, clubs, boutiques and sundry diversions. 1960-66.” Basically, if like me, you can’t walk between Brewer Street and Piccadilly without stopping for a moment in the car park space that is now Ham Yard, you are going to find this a very cool item.

The publishers go on to say, “In producing this map we had hoped to find a gap in the space-time continuum, a portal to 1964 or thereabouts. We fell some way short of doing so but the old city did begin to assume shape, with tilework, window frames and doorways assuming a fresh significance. We ask the reader to squint, peer, step back, look up, and to exercise their imagination: it’s there if you look hard enough”.

Herb Lester Associates has a great website too. Very stylish, very interesting, very mod. The ‘Herb Visits’ pages make for the ultimate guidebook to the remaining places of esoteric individuality in the capital. And if this is all too much for our country readers, fear not, the ‘visit’ this week is to the comfort zone of Farlows. (JB)

Wish You Were There and other Herb Lester maps are now on sale in the Caught by the River shop, priced at £3.00 / £4.00 including p&p.

Herb Lester Associates.